Hometown: New Milford, Conn.
Major: Social Work
WCSU Degree: Bachelor of Arts, Social Work
Internships: Danbury Regional Child Advocacy Center, CT Department of Children and Families
Activities: Social Work Club, National Association of Social Work - Connecticut Chapter
Honors and Awards: Dean's list, 2010-11, 2011-12; 3.96 GPA; Henry Barnard Distinguished Student Award, 2012; Craig Lundwall Memorial Scholarship, 2011-12; Alpha Sigma Lambda Honor Society; graduating Summa Cum Laude
Jennifer Groom-Reid came to Western already in possession of an undergraduate degree: a Bachelor of Science in Accounting, and a master's degree: an MBA in Strategic Business Management. And while she was already successfully managing a career and her role as a wife and mother, she knew she needed to return to college to follow her dream. She decided to pursue that dream at WCSU because "it was an easy commute, has affordable tuition and the university has a reputation for producing great scholars."
According to Groom-Reid, "Social work identifies who I am. All my life, I have been involved in some capacity helping and advocating for others as well as myself. When I worked in the business field, it felt like work. But now, interning as a social worker every day brings a new experience.
"It is still amazing to me as I come to the close of my time at WCSU how invaluable the professors and the dean in the department of social work are, and how much they contributed to my academic success," Groom-Reid says. "Any time I needed them for anything — whether it was for an in-depth explanation of concepts, advice for graduate school or consultation on case studies, they have been available to me. Professor Patti Ivry helped me realize my dream and encouraged me to never give up. Although I could have skipped this bachelor's degree and gone directly to graduate school, I believe my decision to stay was the best for me to begin my professional career with a solid education."
Groom-Reid says another member of the WCSU community that played an important role in her academic success was the Office of Accessibility Services. "Many people who are eligible to receive this service don’t take advantage of it for many different reasons," she says. "But without the help of this department, my stress level would have definitely increased and I know my results would have been completely different. Neal Deluca was an invaluable resource who helped enhance my writing skills."
Asked what she will remember most about her Western experience, Groom-Reid says, "One of the classes that I was required to take as part of the social work program was biology. Although I took this class many, many years ago, my credits were not transferred. We had a great teacher, Assistant Professor of Biological and Environmental Sciences Dr. Neeta Connally, but the demanding course requires many hours of studying and great organizational skills. I noticed that this class was extremely difficult for me and for many of the younger students. By initiating a study group, it gave me the opportunity to mentor many younger students and together, we were able to help each other become successful in this challenging course."
After graduation, Groom-Reid plans to attend graduate school. "I have received many acceptance letters so far, including Columbia University, Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College, and the University of Connecticut, but I have not made a decision yet about which school I will attend."
Groom-Reid’s advice to new students entering WCSU is: "The faculty and staff work in academia because they care about the welfare of the students. They want to help you be successful. Look for resources and use them because they are available for you. Ask questions, seek help, stretch yourself to your full potential, take your education seriously and have fun."